Now that Pumpkin Festival is over it's time to concentrate on Halloween and Thanksgiving. But wait, you have all those pumpkin pieces left over from carving cute little pie pumpkins into jack-o’lanterns.
You need a knock-out dessert. And you don’t want to pay the Cheesecake Factory too much for their seasonal offering.
This cheesecake is creamy and delicious with spicy cinnamon and ginger bringing out the earthiness of the pumpkin. The crust is subtle and a little — but not too — sweet. After you’ve made it once, you’ll be putting this front and center in your regular dessert file.
Yield: 8 servings
For the Crust:
1 cup walnut pieces
8-10 store-bought shortbread cookies
4 T melted butter
4 T sweetening “power” from your choice of sweetener*
For the Cheesecake:
1 cup Splenda®*
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1½ cups pure pumpkin puree†
¼ cup dairy sour cream1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Whipped cream and chocolate curls (optional) for garnish
1. Measure the nuts into the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse the processor until the largest pieces are as big as lentils or split peas. Add the shortbread cookies and pulse until they and the nuts are fine crumbs. You should have about a cup and a half to two cups of crumbs.
2. Add the melted butter and the sweetener, processing until well mixed.
3. Put the crumb mixture into a 9″ springform or cheesecake pan (with a removable bottom), and using your fingers, press the mixture evenly to cover the bottom and sides. The crust will not come all the way up the side of the pan. Cover the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil, crimping it so it comes up the sides. Refrigerate until ready for filling.
4. Preheat oven to 325° F.
5. In the mixing bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, and Splenda®. Beat just until smooth.
6. Add the eggs one at a time, then the pumpkin, sour cream, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and continue beating until smooth and creamy. Stop the mixer occasionally and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beater to ensure all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
7. Pour the filling into the prepared pan. To make a nicer cake that doesn’t have cracks in the top, put the filled cheesecake pan into a, larger baking pan and pour hot water into the larger pan. The water level should come up about half way on the cheesecake pan. Carefully place the whole assembly into the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
8. After 45 minutes, turn off the oven and leave the cake in the oven for half an hour. Then prop the oven door open and let the cake sit until cool before removing. Remove the cake pan from the water bath and place on a wire rack to continue cooling. When the cheesecake has come to room temperature, put it into the refrigerator. Do not release it from the pan yet.
9. Once the cheesecake has chilled, overnight if possible, remove the aluminum foil and the pan side and cut the cake into 8 equal pieces. Serve with a generous portion of whipped cream and chocolate curls on top.
*Because my husband cannot tolerate sugar, I make this cake with Splenda® and the crust with liquid Sucralose. I make a sugarfree whipped cream and use sugar free chocolate. If you would rather use sugar for this recipe, feel free to do so. Just substitute an equal amount for the amounts of Splenda® given here. There’s no need to adjust the baking time.
†Canned pumpkin is great for this cake. Make sure to use pure pumpkin though, not “pumpkin pie filling.”
Text and Photo Copyright © 2009 CoyoteOldStyle
All Rights Reserved.